With Few Role Models, Native Americans Struggle To Access Higher Education

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There are 280,000 students enrolled at University of California campuses throughout the state, but only about 1,100 of them are Native Americans -- and that’s only about 100 more than 20 years ago. And compared to all UC students, Native Americans are 11 percent less likely to earn a degree within six years.

Advocates and Native American students chalk up the difficulties in accessing higher education to a number of factors, including lack of support and programs to foster a sense of inclusiveness. But some schools in the system are increasing resources for Native American students. UCLA student Denice Morales, whose ancestry is Tohono O’odham, found help from a mentor and earned her master’s degree in Native American studies.